Until recently, the online marketplaces specialised in vintage watches were the merchants-only sales channels.
Nowadays, instead, many Ecommerce websites have left the door open for private sellers too.
In order to purchase vintage watches, it’s always necessary to rely on expert sellers or, anyway, to seek professional expertise if you’re buying from a private citizen. Nevertheless, how is it possible to know whether a watch for sale is authentic?

Today, I would like to tell you about some practical uses of the Mazzariol Stefano Library.
That’s because your monthly subscription allows you to go through a number of contents, information and photo material that you may not be able to enjoy from to the fullest.
It’s just like owning a Ferrari only to drive it at 13 mph.

Today, I’ll put myself in the shoes of an enthusiast who sees the online advertisement for a vintage Rolex and wants to know if purchasing is worth it.
Let’s say the watch concerned is one of our Rolex Daytona on sale:
Rolex Daytona ref. 16520 ser. E.

The ad reads:

"Rolex Daytona ref. 16520 ser. E Full Set
Serial number E2667** , 1990

Case: in pristine condition
Serial and reference are clearly visible within the lugs

Dial: Rolex original
6 reversed
In pristine condition

Wristband: Rolex Oyster original bracelet ref. 78360/503
In pristine condition
clasp O10

Accessories: full set (Rolex box and warranty, booklets, calendar, briefcase)
Price upon request”.


The question is: is the watch authentic and genuine?
Here is when the LIBRARY comes to help us.

The advertisement says the watch was produced in 1990.
I login into the LIBRARY and click on the book ROLEX REFERENCE & SERIAL NUMBERS.

Here open the sections about the ROLEX TOOLS: the tools to check the authenticity of the Rolex vintage parts.


I click on the first book (1) to check the serial number and the production year correspond.
I read on the table that the identification number E26**** was produced in 1990.




It confirms what’s written in the ad.
Now, I want to make sure the serial number is authentic.
Then, I click on the second book (2).
I look for the years 1990 to 1999 and click on the year of my watch.



I compare the graphics of the LIBRARY serial with that of the watch on sale.
The graphics of the watch serial is compatible with that of the LIBRARY database.
OK, that’s one more sure thing.
Now I want to make sure the box reference is authentic too. Therefore, I click on the “Rolex References” book (3) and look for 16520, in my case.


I check the graphics of the 1990 references, the year of my Daytona.


The graphics comparison reassures me, the graphics is ok.
In the book (4) ROLEX CASEBACKS, with the same method, I check the caseback is original and right for a 16520 of 1990.


Ok, the caseback graphics of the ad is compatible with the Library database pictures.

We left a fundamental part for last: the dial.
The advertisement reads the 6 is reversed in the watch dial.
I open the book (5) ROLEX DIALS, look for the Daytona model, the relative reference 16520 and the year.


Good. Browsing the Library database pictures, I see the 6 was reversed in the dials in the 90s.
And what if I wanted to know the mark?
I just need to read the blog article of the Library “Rolex Daytona ref. 16520: bezels, dials, bracelets and movements – Blog”.


In a moment, I recognise the mark of the dial and bezel.
The article delves into any topic concerning the ref. 16520. Among other things, I also see the Rolex cal. 4030 movement table.
A doubt shows up. Is the movement of the watch on sale right?
The advertisement reads: movement number 34721.
I presently take a look at the movement table.



In the serial table we saw at point (1) I see the serial E falls within this range.
From 1988 to around 1993, the movements go from 22 000 to 35 000.
The watch in question? Mov. 34721. Perfect.
The Library helped me in this case as well.

Next step: the bracelet.
In the previous blog article, I find an extensive explanation of the topic.
I could also read the focus of the blog article “the Rolex bracelets” but I’m in a hurry, I want to know with no waste of time.
I look for “Rolex bracelets table” in the Library browser.
This search shows me the tables I need: the bracelet reference and the clasp.



The Library confirms both are right: bracelet 78360 with end links 503 and clasp O.
The LIBRARY seems to confirm the watch for sale is authentic.

The watch for sale has a USA warranty, marked with the code X RACR in red. What does this mean?
I find the answer in the LIBRARY blog “The codes of American Rolex papers- English Blog”.


Here, I can translate the code: the watch was imported in the USA on 17 May 1991.

Moreover, on the warranty of the watch for sale a code is printed: R16520A50B7836
I translate it using to the LIBRARY article and I see the warranty is exactly that of a steel 16520, white dial, bracelet ref. 78360.
In this case too, the LIBRARY confirmed the warranty is correct.

Had the dial code been different, the warranty wouldn’t habe been right for the watch advertised, since it would have had a substituted dial.
The LIBRARY showed the watch for sale is authentic and genuine. To buy or not to buy it is just a matter of price.

As I specified earlier, in order to purchase vintage watches you always need to rely on expert seller or anyways seek professional expertise if you’re buying from a private citizen…
… nevertheless, did you ever imagine you could have all this information in a few clicks thanks to a 100€ per year Mazzariol Stefano Library monthly subscription?!
The Library gives you the answer to all your questions, you just need to know how to use it!


Stefano Mazzariol & Virginia Giansoldati